Georgia proposes new fees to ride bikes at State Parks

State officials might soon start charging cyclists to ride on trails at three state parks in north Georgia.

The Department of Natural Resources is considering charging a $2 mountain bike trail fee at Unicoi State Park in Helen, Fort Yargo State Park in Winder and Hard Labor Creek State Park near Rutledge.

Paul Nelson, assistant director of state parks, told the Athens Banner-Herald the parks were chosen for the possible fee because of the length of their trails.

He said the department needs to charge fees for activities like bike riding, disc golf, miniature golf and horseback riding to keep parks open and make up for state budget cuts.

During the past few years, Georgia’s State Parks have been challenged with finding ways to rely less on state funding while keeping parks open for public use.   Revenue from equestrian and mountain bike trails could be especially useful since high-impact trails require more maintenance.

A public hearing on the proposal is planned for Jan. 9 at Fort Yargo State Park.

Information about Georgia State Parks:

  • You can help support state parks by buying a ParkPass.  Upon arrival, state park visitors pay a $5 daily or $50 annual parking fee that helps fund campground renovations, group shelter construction, dock replacements and much more.
  • Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites are committed to making facilities and programs accessible to everyone. All lodges have accessible rooms, meeting facilities and restaurants. Most parks offer accessible cottages, campsites, fishing piers, nature trails and picnic areas. The Will-A-Way Recreation Area at Fort Yargo State Park, operated by Camp Twin Lakes, is a fully accessible group camp accommodating up to 250 people. Since degrees of accessibility vary among the sites, visitors may find it helpful to call the park or historic site they plan to visit to ensure their needs can be met. Overnight guests should be specific about needs when making reservations.

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